Business Negotiation May 14, 2013

The Fifth and Sixth Sales Defenses

The Fifth Sales Defense-Don’t Be in a Hurry

Let’s assume that you have made a proposal to the buyer and they call you to discuss it. You believe the firm price will be challenged at the meeting. You are anxious about it but have developed strong arguments supporting the price. Should you bring up the difficult issue of price or should you leave it to the buyer to do it first?

I believe that it is rarely wise for a negotiator to come to the point quickly in any negotiation-especially if the point of discussion involves a difficult issue. In my experience, negotiators who do not come to the point on sticky issues do better than those who do.

Start the negotiation by talking about the World Series, the weather or golf. There are good reasons for starting with casual conversation rather than coming straight to the point.

(a) You may discover how anxious the buyer is to get the work started or how badly she wants to place the order and get on to something else.

(b) Your assumption that the buyer views the price as a critical issue may be wrong. She may see delivery or quality as the “sticky” issue.

(c) You may, by talking amiably about other things, take some of the edge or focus off of the buyer’s objections.

(d) You may give the impression that while you want the business you aren’t too anxious.

Don’t come to the point too quickly is good advice for anyone who negotiates. There are advantages to letting the other party do it first.

The Sixth Sales Defense-Give Your Selling Price the Power of Good Backup 

When taking a position in defense of price, be prepared to back it up. If your price is as good or better than others, show them that it is. If your price is consistent with what you charged last time, prove it. If your price is in line with the consumer’s price index or with prices shown in trade publications, bring the evidence. When a price is supported by good backup, it is easier to defend.

Whenever you provide the other person with facts or figures that add legitimacy and precedence to your price position, you make it more likely that you will get a “yes” answer.

Good backup has another use which is available but often overlooked. When a seller finds it necessary to make a price concession, it’s wise to do it on a reasoned basis, even if the amount conceded is small. Don’t just drop your price. Defend your concession with all the power of backup and legitimacy you can muster. A well defended concession will reduce the buyer’s demand for further concessions and increase their satisfaction. An unsupported price concession may leave the buyer hungry for more concessions.

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